Jeff Seldin Profile picture
25 Nov, 43 tweets, 39 min read
NEW: @USAfricaCommand warns #alQaida-linked #alShabaab "remains adaptive, resilient, and capable of attacking Western & partner interests in #Somalia & East #Africa" in final @DoD_IG report on US counterterrorism ops in Africa
Despite ongoing train/advise/equip efforts by US, others "The Somali government...has not met milestones for the development of its security forces" per @DoD_IG Sean O’Donnell

#Somalia #alShabaab
In North #Africa, #alQaida in the Islamic Maghreb (#AQIM) & #ISIS-#Libya "significantly degraded & currently pose no threat to the US homeland & a minimal threat to US interests in the region" per @DoD_IG Sean O’Donnell
In #Libya "the presence of #foreignfighters & dozens of local armed militias could jeopardize ongoing efforts to demilitarize the conflict & reach a sustainable political solution to the civil war" per per @DoD_IG Sean O’Donnell
US seeing bigger problems in West #Africa, per @DoD_IG O’Donnell

Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal- Muslimin (#JNIM) "continued to expand in #BurkinaFaso, #Mali & #Niger"
NEW: Pentagon warns @DoD_IG about countering terrorist threats given @USAfricaCommand's "limited footprint on the continent"

@DeptofDefense "needs to remain postured to proactively identify these threats, determine their scope & scale & respond appropriately" per O’Donnell
.@DoD_IG report further warns the terror threat "cannot be addressed through military action alone"

US "will need to effectively leverage & coordinate the diplomatic, humanitarian & development capabilities of multiple agencies to address the underlying drivers" per O'Donnell
The report on CT efforts in #Africa is the last one from @DoD_IG "due to the sunset of Lead IG authority" per O'Donnell, who adds "my Lead IG colleagues & I will continue to provide oversight of US Gvt activities in these regions...under our respective statutory authorities"
NEW: @USAfricaCommand director of intelligence points to "a definitive shift” in #alShabaab tactics w/a greater focus on targets US interests in the region, per @DoD_IG
MORE: "The terrorist threat in East #Africa is not degraded" per @DoD_IG "#alShabaab retains freedom of movement in many parts of southern #Somalia & has demonstrated an ability & intent to attack outside of the country, including targeting US interests"
.@DoD_IG reports that per @DefenseIntel, the threat from #alShabaab & other groups, like #ISIS-#Somalia "has increased in the past 3 years" in East #Africa
Citing @DefenseIntel, @DoD_IG report states "a lack of socioeconomic opportunities & poor governance could contribute to increased violent extremist activity in East #Africa in the next 5 years"
#alShabaab controls less territory now than 10 years ago, but "continues to operate with relative impunity, particularly in areas that lack adequate government administration or security presence" per @StateDept assessment shared w/@DoD_IG
Per @DoD_IG report, #alShabaab shifting fighters to counter Somali & @amisomsomalia forces seeking to clear towns from #Mogadishu to #Marka

Shabaab also continuing to rely on insurgent-style tactics, attempted assassinations
#alShabaab force strength holding steady

@USAfricaCommand estimates group has between 5,000 and 10,000 fighters at its disposal, same as previous quarter

No significant changes due to #COVID19
#Kenya in #alShabaab crosshairs

Group “intent and capable” of carrying out attacks there & "intensified" attacks in counties bordering on #Somalia, @USAfricaCommand tells @DoD_IG
#alShabaab "also threatened to kill or kidnap Western tourists in #Kenya, which USAFRICOM said demonstrated the group’s “enduring intent to harm Americans" per @DoD_IG
US airstrikes vs #alShabaab July-September 2020

Per @USAfricaCommand the August 25 strike killed “senior al-Shabaab leader" Abdulqadir Commandos
per @DoD_IG, the Transition Plan envisioned Somali security forces would play a 'leading operational role' by the end of 2020, but they "continue to rely on int'l support...#alShabaab is not degraded to the point where Somali security forces can contain its threat independently"
#Somalia's security institutions have “a modest ability” to oversee their forces, @USAfricaCommand tells @DoD_IG “but they are dependent on the generosity of international donors to develop any capabilities”
Leadership of the #Somalia National Army improving, per @DoD_IG

But other problems persist

Even w/int'l financial support, "Somali security forces sometimes go unpaid for months"
#Somalia's gvt also having difficult extending its authority, still relies on "forces associated with the federal member states and clan-based militias often serve as the primary provider of security" per @DoD_IG
"While these sub-national forces conduct offensive operations against #alShabaab and #ISIS-Somalia, they often do not coordinate activity with each other and sometimes work at cross purposes" per @DoD_IG
.@StateDept warns implementation of the #Somali Transition Plan "badly off track"

A rewrite of the plan is underway resulting in what @USAfricaCommand called “a solid first draft as opposed to an actionable plan" lacking key planning milestones
#Somalia reliant on #Danab Brigrade units for majority - 80% - of counter #alShabaab ops

@StateDept tells @DoD_IG Danab performing relatively well but progress hurt by "inadequate troop generation, normal attrition, and combat losses"
.@DoD_IG finds overall, "The US Government has met its objective to degrade #ISIS-Libya & #AQIM in North Africa to the point where they are unlikely to conduct external operations against US interests"
Above assessment based on answers from @USAfricaCommand & @StateDept

Per @DefenseIntel, threat from #AQIM #ISIS in North #Africa "may be at its lowest point in a decade" per @DoD_IG report
#ISIS-#Libya "likely will struggle to reconstitute its network if counterterrorism pressure continues" per @DoD_IG
#ISIS-#Libya down to "fewer than 100 fighters" in the country's SW, per @DoD_IG
.@DefenseIntel "assessed that #ISIS-Libya likely relies on facilitation networks in order to recruit and bring in foreign fighters to join the group in #Libya" per @DoD_IG

Facilitation networks likely constrained by civil war, #COVID19
.@USAfricaCommand tells @DoD_IG #AQIM in worse shape, capability-wise than #ISIS

"AQIM likely has fewer than 500 fighters...concentrated in southwestern #Libya, western #Tunisia, and eastern #Algeria, but do not control any territory" per @DoD_IG report
Problems w/#foreignfighters in #Libya

@USAfricaCommand estimates there were 10,000 fighting for the Government of National Accord (GNA) or the Libyan National Army (LNA)as of the end of September 2020, per @DoD_IG
Number of #Russia|n mercenaries in #Libya holding steady

@USAfricaCommand estimates still about 2,000 from the #Wagner Group

@DefenseIntel says #UAE may be footing some of the bill but funding is "ambiguous"
Number of #Turkey-backed fighter in #Libya holding steady at about 5,000

@USAfricaCommand @StateDept say they're providing weapons/training to #GNA-aligned forces
New fighters coming into #Libya from #African countries - including about 3,000 from #Sudan to support pro-#LNA forces

Sudanese & #Chad|ian mercenaries also present on both sides of the conflict, per @DoD_IG report
As of end of September 2020, @DoD_IG assesses #BokoHaram #ISIS & #alQaida affiliates in the #Sahel "were neither degraded nor contained"

Terror groups "continued to expand geographically, conduct attacks, and threaten partner interests"
Citing @DefenseIntel, @DoD_IG warns threat in West #Africa "has increased exponentially over the last 10 years"

Says #France counterterror ops since 2013 "have likely denied [terror groups] the ability to establish permanent control of & consistent safe havens" in #Sahel #Mali
Threat from #JNIM expanding - per US military the #alQaida linked group now has about 2,000 fighters, compared to estimates of 1,000-2,000 last year
"#JNIM’s ability to conduct more attacks is attributable to many factors, including a lack of cohesion among int'l & African partner forces & lack of cross-border security" per @DoD_IG, citing @USAfricaCommand
#ISIS-Greater Sahara suffering substantial casualties but still a threat

Despite losses, @USAfricaCommand tells @DoD_IG ISIS-GW up to 500 fighters from 200-300 at the start of FY2020
.@USAfricaCommand also tells @DoD_IG after initial cooperation, conflict between #JNIM & #ISIS-GW is now intensifying

"JNIM is steadily pushing ISIS in the Greater Sahara out of #Mali and into other regions of the #Sahel" per the report
#ISIS-West #Africa is the largest of all terror groups in the region, maintaining an estimated 3,500-5,000 fighters, per @DoD_IG
#BokoHaram force strength staedy at 1,500-2,000 fighters in #Nigeria #Cameroon, per @DoD_IG

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More from @jseldin

24 Nov
BREAKING: President-elect @JoeBiden to start getting intel briefings

“This afternoon the White House approved ODNI to move forward with providing the PDB [President's Daily Brief] as part of the support to the transition" per @ODNIgov spokesperson
MORE: @ODNIgov will also start providing "requested support to the transition team" per spokesperson "following the statutory direction of the Presidential Transition Act”
Per @ODNIgov official, @Transition46's agency review team is expected to be on site this coming Monday (November 30)

ODNI preparing to provide agency/operations overview as well as support delivery of intel briefings
Read 4 tweets
24 Nov
Happening now: President-elect @JoeBiden introduces key members of his national security team

"It's a team that reflects the fact that America is back..."
"They also reflect the idea that we cannot meet these challenges with old thinking and unchanged habits" per @JoeBiden noting 1st woman to lead @ODNIgov
Avril Haines as leader of @ODNIgov - "I picked a professional" per @JoeBiden "She's eminently qualified...and a fierce advocate of telling the truth"

"People will be able to take her word because she always calls it as she sees it"
Read 17 tweets
23 Nov
NEW: @JoeBiden announces key nominees for his national security team:

@jakejsullivan to be Nat'l Security Adviser

Avril Haines to lead @ODNIgov

Alejandro Mayorkas to lead @DHSgov Image
“We have no time to lose when it comes to our nat'l security & foreign policy" per @JoeBiden statement

"Their accomplishments in diplomacy are unmatched...they also reflect the idea that we cannot meet the profound challenges of this new moment w/old thinking & unchanged habits"
Reaction from @JoeBiden's choice for Nat'l Security Adviser

Read 5 tweets
10 Nov
JUST IN: @HASCDemocrats @RepAdamSmith angered by @realDonaldTrump sudden changes at @DeptofDefense

"As soon as Former Vice Pres.t Biden became President-Elect Biden, President Trump & those loyal to him started to sow chaos & division...that chaos has now reached the Pentagon"
JUST IN: @DeptofDefense on "Personnel Changes"

"Today, Acting UnderSecretary of Defense for Policy Dr James Anderson, UnderSecretary of Defense for Intelligence&Security Mr Joseph Kernan & Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, Jen Stewart submitted letters of resignation"
"I want to thank Dr. Anderson, Admiral Kernan & Jen Stewart for their service to the nation & the Department" per new acting SecDef Christopher Miller in the statement

"Each has contributed greatly to the national defense...We wish them the best in their next endeavors”
Read 6 tweets
9 Nov
NEW: With National Counterterrorism CenterDir. Christopher Miller now physically at @DeptofDefense, who is running NCTC?

NCTC is deferring to the White House
For the moment, Christopher Miller is still listed on NCTC's website as the director Image
It should be noted that NCTC does not have a permanent deputy director

Darryl Fengya is acting deputy director

Pamela Duke is acting executive director ImageImage
Read 4 tweets
9 Nov
In an interview conducted Nov 4, @EsperDoD told @MilitaryTimes: “Who’s pushed back more than anybody?’ Name another Cabinet secretary that’s pushed back”

"Have you seen me on a stage saying, ‘Under the exceptional leadership of blah-blah-blah, we have blah-blah-blah-blah?’"
JUST IN: House Armed Services Committee Chair @RepAdamSmith condemns @realDonaldTrump's firing of @EsperDoD

"President Trump’s decision to fire Secretary Esper out of spite is not just childish, it’s also reckless"
Read 9 tweets

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